Inside Google AdWords

Why Google AdWords?

As an internet user, when you think about Google, you probably think about its search engine and how often it gives you the answers you need. But as a marketer, one needs to go deeper than that and understand its advertising platform and its potential to help a business get quality traffic to a website.

Advertising in Google is undoubtedly a successful  way for any business to reach a wide audience in the online world. But don’t take my word for it, just check some of the stats of Google’s weight in the search market (you can check this and more stats @

  • 11.944 billion google searches are done every month
  • There are, per month, about 1.17 billion unique Google searchers
  • Google has around 75% of the US search market and around 92% of the European market (check business insider’s article Here’s How Dominant Google Is In Europe)

Obviously, this does not come easy if you are not familiar with the nature of this type of advertising, but there is a lot of good information available out there and Google itself provides clear and structured content in their AdWords Help Center.

Nonetheless, let me introduce here some key elements that can help you better grasp the concept and its business potential:

I. Basics

a) Google AdWords is the platform that helps advertisers to create, manage and optimise their Ad campaigns. When you set up a campaign, Google allows you to advertise on its Search & Display Networks:

  • Search Network – it basically allows you to show your ads in the search engine result pages (SERPs) whenever the searched terms match your keywords, showing the ads either at the top, bottom or the right sections of the page:
SERP anatomy
Search Engine Result Page Anatomy
  • Display Network – it includes a collection of websites, videos and apps under Google’s scope (Gmail, YouTube, Blogs, etc) where your ads can appear, based on the relevancy of your keywords in relation to the content of those placements.

b) ABCs of AdWords:

c) Ad Rank & Ad Auction:

If there are multiple advertisers competing, your Ad Position will be calculated taking into account your Bidding (how much you are willing to spend) and your Ad Quality (this is is calculated based on the components of Quality Score: expected CTR, Ad Relevance, and Landing Page experience). Also important are the Ad Extensions (Callout, Location, App, Sitelinks, Reviews, etc) and Ad Formats (Image, Text, etc) that you choose to use when you set up your Ads.

In terms of bidding, the most important methods are CPC (Cost-per-Click) or CPA (Cost-per-Acquisition), both of which you will pay for each click you get. To choose between one or the other, one has to take in consideration the ultimate goal of the campaign, the nature of your business and your customer behaviour.

  • With CPC you define the max. bid you are willing to pay for people who actually clicked on your ad and went to your website. This method focus more on traffic generation.
  • In CPA bidding, you will set a target average amount for how much you are willing to pay for a conversion, hereby focusing on reaching customers who are likely to take action on your website. You still pay-per-click but AdWords automatically sets your bids to help you get more conversions.

c) Keyword Research:

In order to know which keywords to use to trigger your ads, you have to comprehend the search behaviour of the people you want to target. To do so, Google has made available Keyword Planner – a free tool that allows you to get keyword and ad group ideas for your campaign, showing lists of keywords, expected performance (historical statistics, traffic forecasts) and estimated bids or budgets.

d) Campaign Elements:

Ad Groups – this is how you structure your campaign. You divide your ads and keywords in different Ad Groups, according to the nature and content of what you want to advertise.

C.T.R. (Click-Through-Rate) – this equals the Nº of Clicks you get in an Ad from all the times that that Ad was shown in searches (Impressions).

C.R. (Conversion Rate) – the Nº of Conversions you had (product bought, newsletter subscription, software download, etc) from the total Nº of visits you have received.

Keyword Matches – there are different ways to choose how your keywords match certain search terms that will trigger your ads. In Google AdWords, you have the following match options:

Keyword Match Types
Using keyword matching options from: Google Adwords Help Center

II. Optimisation

There are several strategies to improve your campaigns, but ultimately it will depend on your investment restrictions (budget, bidding), your market’s characteristics, your campaign’s historical performance and your goals.

Nonetheless, I will briefly mention a few common strategies that have proven themselves useful when optimising campaigns:

  • Do periodic Keyword Researches – this will help you find more relevant keywords (maybe use some long tail keywords) that could capture traffic that you are not tapping yet AND eliminate keywords that have low performance.
  • Revise your Ad Copy – review the pitch of your ads and understand whether or not it matches your value proposition and how you should stand out from your competition. Whenever the case, pause low performing Ads and create new ones with a more appealing and enticing text.
  • Use Ad Extensions – they give more reasons for someone to click your ad. There are several options to show more information about your business in an ad so that users can be more easily convinced that you are the most relevant advertiser to them and therefore click on your ad. Check all the extensions available here.
  • Add Negative Keywords – in the AdWords platform you will find a section where there is a list of all the searched terms that matched your keywords and triggered your ads (Search Terms Report). In here, you are able to find search terms that are not related to your business and that may be bringing traffic that is not relevant and it only contributes to decrease the overall performance of your campaign. Select the terms that are not useful for you and add them to your campaign as Negative Keywords.
  • Monitor your Keyword Bids – Google will often suggest you new bids for your keywords. This happens because they want to tell you that in order for you to be in the first page, your maximum bid needs to be higher. Besides this, increasing, from time to time, some of your CPC bids helps you improve your Ad’s average position and therefore increase your chances of getting a click.

Is AdWords the right tool for you?

If you have an online business with a website that is able to convert visitors into customers, AdWords can be a good option for you to get more and better leads.

Advertising in Google’s search engine takes you to the place where most people go everyday to find what they want, and if you are able to efficiently convey your value proposition in a few sentences, then definitely you should try building a campaign.

Before you decide to start an Ad campaign in Google, just reflect before hand on the following topics:

  • Research & Understand your target audience’s online behaviour  (how do they search and buy online?)
  • Study your competitors (are they advertising through Google’s Search or Display networks?)
  • Define a clear goal you want to achieve with your campaign (more visits to the website, more conversions, etc).

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